The phone hacking scandal's key dates

A timeline of events in Britain's News of the World phone hacking scandal
Rupert Murdoch, centre, attempts to speak to the media after he held a meeting with the parents and sister of murdered school girl Milly Dowler in London, July 15, 2011. The lawyer for the Milly Dowler's family says Murdoch has issued a full and sincere apology to the murdered schoolgirl's family for the actions of journalists at his newspaper. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)

Britain's phone hacking scandal has forced top police officers and former News International executives out of their jobs and prompted the shutdown of the 168-year-old tabloid News of the World. This timeline outlines some of the major events in the scandal.

  • March 13, 2012: British police made six arrests in the phone hacking scandal, including Rebekah Brooks, the former top executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International, and her husband, a prominent horse breeder and a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron. The six people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, police said in a statement.
  • Feb. 29: Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, steps down as executive chairman of News International.
  • Jan. 28: British police searched the offices of Murdoch's British newspapers after arresting a police officer and four current and former staff of his tabloid The Sun as part of an investigation into police bribery by journalists. The arrests spread the scandal over tabloid wrongdoing to a second Murdoch newspaper.
  • Jan. 19: Murdoch's newspaper company agreed to pay damages to 36 high-profile victims of tabloid phone-hacking, including actor Jude Law, soccer player Ashley Cole and former British deputy prime minister John Prescott.
  • Dec. 20, 2011: CNN celebrity interviewer Piers Morgan, who ran News of the World and later the Daily Mirror, refused to disclose details to the media ethics inquiry about his most damning link to the scandal — his acknowledgment that he once listened to a phone message left by Paul McCartney for his then wife Heather Mills. News International also said it has settled claims brought by several people, including James Hewitt, former lover of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Paul Dadge, who helped rescue victims of the 2005 London transit bombings.
  • Nov. 24: J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, told the media ethics inquiry stemming from the phone hacking scandal that she felt a sense of "invasion" when a note from a journalist was slipped into the school bag of her five-year-old daughter. British actor Sienna Miller testified she mistakenly blamed family and friends when her private information began appearing in the press.
  • Nov. 22: A former business adviser to Elle Macpherson told the inquiry that she was fired by the Australian supermodel, who wrongly blamed her for leaking intimate secrets the media had obtained through phone hacking.
  • Nov. 21: Actor Hugh Grant told the inquiry he believes his phone was hacked by the British tabloid the Mail On Sunday — the first time he has implicated a newspaper not owned by Rupert Murdoch. Grant said that a 2007 story about his romantic life could only have been obtained through eavesdropping on his voice mails. Meanwhile, the parents of murdered teen Milly Dowler told the inquiry that the News of the World's phone hacking efforts led them to believe that their daughter was still alive.
  • Nov. 10: James Murdoch, the embattled News International executive facing mounting evidence that he knew about widespread phone hacking at the News of the World, insisted that he was kept in the dark about the illegal practice before the scandal broke. It was his second round of testimony before Parliament.
  • Nov. 8: The BBC reported that a private investigator working for News of the World conducted surveillance on Prince William as well of dozens of politicians and celebrities.
  • Nov. 4: News International said it has launched a new compensation plan for victims of phone hacking by the now-defunct Sunday tabloid.
  • Oct. 21: News Corp. said it will pay $3.2 million in a settlement with the family of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose voicemail was hacked by the News of the World.
  • Sept. 7: The Guardian newspaper said British police have interviewed Guardian journalist Amelia Hill over an alleged leak of information from the investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid. Hill is one of several journalists at the paper who have been pursuing the phone hacking story.
  • Aug. 2: Police investigating phone hacking and police bribery at the News of the World arrested a man, believed to be former managing editor Stuart Kuttner.
  • July 29: The private investigator at the centre of the storm, Glenn Mulcaire, said he was always "working on the instructions of others" at the newspaper, his lawyer said in a statement.
  • July 29: The 26-year-old man who threw a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch during a parliamentary committee hearing pled guilty to assault and harassment in a London court. Afterwards, quoting Murdoch from the hearing, the man said "this has been the most humble day of my life."
  • July 20: Prime Minister David Cameron says during an emergency parliamentary session that he will offer a "profound apology" if Andy Coulson, his one-time communications chief and former editor at the News of the World, is found to have lied about his role in the phone-hacking scandal.
  • July 19: News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch testify at an emergency U.K. House of Commons hearing looking into the phone-hacking scandal. Former News International executive and News of the World chief editor Rebekah Brooks also testifies. Former Scotland Yard chief Paul Stephenson says that he resigned his post because he didn't want to become a distraction during the Olympics, which London is slated to host next year.
  • July 18: London police assistant commissioner John Yates resigns. He made the decision two years earlier not to reopen a police inquiry into phone hacking. Sean Hoare, the whistleblower reporter who alleged widespread hacking at the News of the World, is found dead at his home in England. His death isn't being considered suspicious. Prime Minister David Cameron cuts short his visit to South Africa as his government faces a growing number of questions about its cozy relationship with the Murdoch empire.
  • July 17: Rebekah Brooks is arrested by U.K. police in the hacking scandal. London police chief Paul Stephenson resigns amid criticism over his alleged links to Neil Wallis, a former News of the World executive editor arrested in the scandal. Murdoch publishes another ad in British newspapers titled "Putting right what's gone wrong."
  • July 16: News Corp. runs a full-page ad in seven British newspapers apologizing for "serious wrongdoing" at the News of the World. 
  • July 15: Rebekah Brooks resigns as CEO of News International, is replaced by Tom Mockridge, former head of News Corp.'s Sky Italia television unit. Les Hinton, former News International chairman, resigns as CEO of Rupert Murdoch's Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Murdoch meets with the family of 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked by News of the World when Brooks was its editor, to apologize. 
  • July 14: Rupert Murdoch agrees to appear before a parliamentary committee; defends News Corp.'s handling of scandal in interview with The Wall Street Journal. Reports emerge that FBI opens inquiry into possible phone hacking of 9/11 terror victims. 
  • July 13: News Corp. pulls its bid to take full control of BSkyB. 
  • July 12: Prime Minister David Cameron backs an opposition motion urging Rupert Murdoch to back out of BSkyB bid. 
  • July 11: News Corp. withdraws offer to spin off Sky News in attempt to save bid for complete control of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). 
  • July 10: News of the World publishes its final edition. Rupert Murdoch flies into London to deal with the crisis. 
  • July 8: Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who had served as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief, is arrested over phone hacking; he's not charged. Former News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman is arrested again, this time for suspected illegal payments to police. Prime Minister David Cameron announces inquiries. 
  • July 7: News International announces it will close 168-year-old News of the World. 
  • July 5: News of the World advertisers boycott the paper. 
  • July 4: The Guardian newspaper publishes a report saying the phone of 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler was hacked by News of the World when Rebekah Brooks was its editor. Brooks refuses to resign, says she knew nothing about the hacking.
  • June: News of the World pays another settlement, this time with former football player and Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray. 
  • May: News of the World agrees to pay actress Sienna Miller 100,000 pounds ($161,000) to settle a claim her phone had been hacked. 
  • January 2011: British police reopen the investigation into phone hacking. Andy Coulson resigns as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief. 
  • May 2010: Conservative David Cameron becomes prime minister; Andy Coulson is named his communications chief. 
  • February 2010: Parliamentary committee finds no evidence that Andy Coulson knew about phone-hacking but states it's "inconceivable" that only Clive Goodman knew about it. 
  • September 2009: Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World and its sister paper The Sun, named chief executive of News International, News Corp.'s British arm. 
  • July 2009: Andy Coulson tells parliamentary committee he never "condoned use of phone hacking."
  •  May 2007: Conservative Party Leader David Cameron taps Andy Coulson to be his media adviser. 
  •  January 2007: Clive Goodman jailed for four months; private investigator Glenn Mulcaire given six-month sentence. News of the World editor Andy Coulson resigns. 
  • August 2006: Clive Goodman arrested along with Glenn Mulcaire for suspected hacking into voice mails of royal household.
  • November 2005: Clive Goodman writes a News of the World story saying Prince William has a knee injury. Buckingham Palace complaint prompts police inquiry.